The new format Rosie Stewart Memorial Bowl took place at Shaw’s Bridge on Sunday.
The opening game was between two Ulster Development sides, comprised of players from clubs across the Province. Anna Stanfield opened the scoring with her Malone RFC teammate Zarah Rhyan adding the conversion. A second try before half-time made it 12-0 at halftime. Fern Wilson secured a 22-0 win with two second half tries. The scoreline wasn’t the most important consideration as the key aim for this game was to provide a platform for Ulster Senior Women’s coaches to see nominated players from all clubs pitched against each other.
The second game of the day was the Rosie Stewart Memorial Bowl. This year’s new format saw Cooke RFC Women’s 1st XV play an Ulster Baabaas XV. An Alexa Grudgings’ penalty kick gave the visitors a 3-0 lead very early on. A try by Malone’s Gemma McCamley left the halftime score 8-0 to the Baabaas. Cooke started the second half in a more determined fashion and their efforts were rewarded with two Beth Cregan tries complimented by two Vicky Irwin penalties making the final result 14-8, meaning the Rosie Stewart will remain at Cooke for another year.
One aim of the new format was to provide a talent identification opportunity for the Ulster Senior Women’s coaches. A second aim was to provide a more competitive fixture than has been seen in previous years. Both aims were achieved. The success of new format was undeniable by all those participating, coaching and supporting. The Ulster Senior Women’s coaches now have the difficult task of selection for the Interprovincial Summer Training Squad with a number of players putting their hands up for consideration.
Thanks must go out to; Rosie’s family for attending and presenting the trophy, all at Cooke RFC for hosting the day with a special mention to Kevin Simpson, Sorcha MacLaimhin and Helen McGhee, all the club coaches who work tirelessly week in week out to sustain the women’s teams around the Province, all the players that took part on that day, and Cat Sloan for providing physio services.